Adversarial Risk Analysis for Enhancing Combat Simulation Models

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Adversarial Risk Analysis (ARA) builds on statistical risk analysis and game theory to analyze decision situations involving two or more intelligent opponents who make decisions under uncertainty. During the past few years, the ARA approach-which is based on the explicit modelling of the decision making processes of a rational opponent-has been applied extensively in areas such as counterterrorism and corporate competition. In the context of military combat modelling, however, ARA has not been used systematically, even if there have been attempts to predict the opponent’s decisions based on wargaming, application of game theoretic equilibria, and the use of expert judgements. Against this backdrop, we argue that combining ARA with military combat modelling holds promise for enhancing the capabilities of combat modelling tools. We identify ways of combining ARA with combat modelling and give an illustrative example of how ARA can provide insights into a problem where the defender needs to estimate the utility gained from hiding its troop movements from the attacker. Even if the ARA approach can be challenging to apply, it can be instructive in that relevant assumptions about the resources, expectations and goals that guide the adversary’s decisions must be explicated.

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